UC Golf Update

Union County is saying their golf operations are (or will be) profitable. They’re not and I say so within an article today where I’m quoted:

Critics are skeptical. John Bury, an actuary and active member of the Union County Watchdog Association, thinks the projections are exaggerated and that actual expenses in recent years have left out some personnel costs. And he doesn’t believe the county should be involved in the event business — something it plans to do with a large banquet space on the second floor of the new clubhouse.

“It’s not the business of government,” he said. “They’re just doing it because it’s an ego trip.”

in response to:

“In the next two years, once the clubhouse is finished, the golf operations will probably break even, said Sanchez, the golf director. They should be stabilized, however, by 2015, when he expects to once again earn a profit while paying down all the debt.”
So where did the Summit Council president get his information:

Through June golf operations made $2,595,505 according to official county numbers.

Based on the 2012 check registries, costs through June came to $6,863,660.

  • KemperSports hand check registry:$1,293,890
  • Claremont Construction: $5,308,083
  • Kemper Sports check registry:$225,046
  • Total Turf Golf Services: $36,641

Even without including any engineering, legal, or consulting fees that may be hidden under ‘professional services’ or any building material that may be hidden within the check registry, or salaries and benefits for Armando Sanchez and any ex-greenskeepers still on the county payroll,  the loss through June from golf operations in Union County comes to $4,268,155.  Black indeed.

22 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Brian P Keane on August 6, 2012 at 7:12 am

    The UC Directions was never released, but The Kean Newsletter was. Opening the newsletter was just like the UC Directions great pay for play politicial support by the University of Kean dinners and meals at expensive prices tours at Kean Liberty Hall stipends and everything..Does the NJ State Attorney General ever come down here to Union County NJ,?


  2. Posted by Bob Bolmer on August 6, 2012 at 9:27 am

    The Union County Freeloaders waste so much of our tax money, why are they in this business. Their business is to run the county efficiently and they haven’t been able to do that yet. They have been successful in getting family and friends jobs with great benefits and pay at our expense. Maybe we need to get rid of county government or at least these Freeloaders.


  3. Posted by bpaterson on August 6, 2012 at 10:07 am

    brian, that kean newsletter dropped in every mailbox in the county was total spin since they have been proven a corrupted management led by farahi the fraud. Will letters be written pointing out the wasted money used for this useless PR newsletter instead of tuition? Don’t they have any integrity at KU?


  4. Posted by Brian P Keane on August 6, 2012 at 2:20 pm

    I wouldn’t know Bruce you see when the Kean’s came to America in 1779 they still had their e on the end..Colaborators with the British Redcoats those Kean’s…


  5. Posted by Peter Scull on August 6, 2012 at 11:11 pm

    By 2015 Sanchez “expects to earn a profit while paying down all the debt”. Isn’t that a $20 Million clubhouse, whose cost is financed, so elegantly arising next to the Parkway? Unless I’m misinterpreting his quote, golf operations in 2015 will generate MORE THAN $20 MILLION in profits? We taxpayers should only hope so.

    Their golf revenue chart is also filled with shenanigans. My OPRA of 2011 golf operations (which also includes numbers for 2010)shows G.H. revenues in 2010 of $300,000 MORE than this chart shows and $400,000 MORE for 2011 than this chart shows. Does that mean they INFLATED revenue figures in 2010 & 2011 to show a profit (or less of a loss)? Or are they DEFLATING revenues on their chart for this year to show a greater INCREASE this year vs. the last 2 years?

    Strange, too, that this year’s chart shows revenues for Ash Brook for 2010 & 2011 of $100,000 MORE than reported on the 2011 OPRA request.

    The same holds true for the Combined revenue numbers in this year’s chart. The CHART shows combined revenues GREATER THAN what was reported in their financial statement received via the OPRA request for 2010/2011, by $426,000. Wishful thinking or more shenanigans?

    I have found this to be quite typical of the County’s reporting of numbers over the last 3-4 years. THEY NEVER MATCH from year to year. Golf lies, indeed, John.


  6. Posted by Tina Renna on August 7, 2012 at 6:24 am

    I’m in touch with the other catering halls around the county as I sell advertising, and they are all hurting. There are 2 right in the neighborhood of the county’s, galloping hill caterers and the Kenilworth Inn. Boulevard527 also has a hall for weddings.

    My question is how much of this revenue from the taxpayer funded banquet hall will the county see, and how much revenue will Kemper Sports take home with them to Chicago IL from Union County businesses? And what gets lost in the fuzzy math is who pays for the interior decorations and hardware like refrigerators and their repair, garbage hauling, heating, landscaping, water, electricity, etc., etc., etc. that any other business would be responsible for. Union County businesses pay by for the business of Union County government. Government is only needed to run things that aren’t profitable, like jails.


  7. Posted by Marilyn Iorio on August 7, 2012 at 7:19 am

    I am a Brooklyn NY native & lived in NYC for 39 years until we purchased a house in NJ. I will NEVER understand NJ politics. I’ve been a liberal Democrat since I could vote, but my town & county Democrats are uncaring of their constituents at least, or crooks at most. I’m going to vote Republican in my next town & county elections for the first time ever. Anything has got to be better than this. Will also leave this county as soon as hubby retires.


  8. Posted by bear1957 on August 7, 2012 at 10:10 am

    lets not forget to mention that kemper still uses all the county’s equipment their vehicles and trailers and the fuel, all on the county’s dime. they are still using county mechanics to repair the equipment and vehicles, inside word is they just put a 300,000 order in for new equipment. i dont see how the county is making any money especially if their not rasing the golf rate as they indicated.


  9. Posted by Brian P Keane on August 7, 2012 at 10:36 am

    UC DMV bids out their county cars to be repaired by auto mechanics or pay to play patronage. This practice has been
    in operation since 1999. Just go over to 79 West Grand St., and look at the empty spaces the once owned Smith Motors operated back in the 1990’s.


  10. Posted by bear1957 on August 7, 2012 at 11:41 am

    our own county mechanics are still repairing all equipment and vehicles used by kemper. what is it that kemper actually does since we seem to provide everything else for them. i didn’t realize you neede a huge company to come in to schedule tee times.


  11. Posted by Tina Renna on August 7, 2012 at 12:48 pm

    Kemper also doesn’t pay property taxes. The county facility will be tax exempt. Will this cost savings be passed on to the consumer? Will this alow county government to further undercut their competition?

    Will the public ever know how much Kemper is charging for an event because the contracts for weddings etc. will be handled through the OPRA exempt Kemper much like Musicfest was handeled throught the UCPAC.

    The more thought I put into this, the more it stinks. The whole thing is abusive to Union County taxpayers, harmful to Union County businesses and ripe for scams. In other words, it’s Union County business as usual.

    This is government taking away business from private companies. Government will not be providing a service, there will be no more weddings, christenings and other parties generated becuase of this banquet hall, there will just be governmetn competition with taxpayer funded advantages competing for private business. It should be illegal.


    • Another issue is the bonds they’d be floating to pay for this. Tax-exempt bonds and the facilities and/or equipment they finance must be monitored for the life of the bond series to ensure compliance with IRS regulations restricting the use of bond proceeds. Certain uses of tax-exempt bond proceeds (e.g., private use of tax-exempt bond financed facilities) can result in significant monetary penalties to the issuer. In this case, KemperSports is a private company that is getting a large chunk of gross profits, a break on rent, and presumably unfettered use of the facilities so the bonds to finance this project may not be tax-emempt – though whoever buys these bonds may not find that out before the IRS does.

      Ironically, when this Xanadu is completed they’ll likely be holding their ‘Union County Means Business’ luncheons there.


  12. Posted by steve on August 7, 2012 at 3:44 pm

    ———-when creative accounting fails they just resort to lies –maybe this new venue can also be used to buy votes from unwitting people with some more free food (b b-ques and spaghetti diners )it works in Union Township


  13. In reference to what Brian P Keane had to say about the AGs office: it appears NJs AG office employees have been MIA for at least the past two decades despite innumerable objections by the citizenry regarding County of Union’s many patent failures to abide within applicable laws (spending, borrowing, hiring, firing, stewardship of open space, stormwater management, open government, etc., etc., etc.). I had (emphasis on past tense), had great hope for the Christie administration, but he, his appointees, and associates seem to also be MIA regarding enforcement of any of the breeches of regulations in the performance of basic government services to the taxpayers of Union County. The transient Local, County, and State governments are failing to abide by existing laws (exempt from punitive damages even of they’re caught), while subsequently failing to provide basic services and protections, while simultaneously continuing to pile on the debt for us and future generations to pay! The citizenry making time and expending significant, dedicated effort to point out glaring inconsistencies doesn’t seem to motivate our elected and appointed officials, or their professional retainees to abide within existing regulations to serve and protect the current and future generations of citizenry. Is there an attorney amongst us who can and will advise on how the concerned citizenry should move forward successfully to correct the many failures of our elected officials to abide within existing laws?


  14. Posted by Daniel Shays on August 7, 2012 at 8:22 pm

    I was thinking that the Kleptocrats want to have a free banquet hall & restaurant that they can have their family & friends use, paid for by the fleeced taxpayers


  15. Posted by bpaterson on August 8, 2012 at 7:20 am

    something tells me that there should be a lwyer involved and a stop work order submitted to halt the boondoggle in its tracks, and then show cause how this is a purpose of govt. I’m willing to fund $200 to the lawyer to stop this travesty on the taxpayers. TR, you know any lawyers that say this would make sense. As before noted, also neff of the DLGS and the legislators of the county taxpyaers should get involved….bramnick, munoz, keane, quijano, lesniak, cryan, green, etc………………….


  16. Posted by Brian P Keane on August 8, 2012 at 9:19 am

    Please leave the Keane’s out of it,
    The Keane Families Boston MA


  17. Posted by Ramparts on August 8, 2012 at 12:21 pm

    Bruce, I will commit to $200 as well.


  18. Posted by bpaterson on August 10, 2012 at 1:57 pm

    How to make something look profitable? Simple-the freeholders have diverted and hid away from the taxpayers $2.8 million of personnel costs into the open space trust fund. Theres how you make the golf courses profitable. Juat hide the expenses.

    On the flip side: Much like Mr Bury had detailed the misrepresentation behind making oak ridge golf course look like it was bleeding money 3 years ago. Just take any and all costs from other operations that are not specifically traceable and dump them into the oak ridge golf operations.

    Private sector cfo’s go to jail for that, public sector scumbags get healthcare for life.

    Now you know.


  19. Posted by G. Albritton on August 13, 2012 at 4:21 pm

    Notice that everything the County’s representatives have to say in that article is about making money, becoming a “profit center”, “preeminence”, developing the grandiose banqueting hall and related facilities, etc. NOTHING is said about delivering enhanced opportunities to County residents, particularly senior citizens, to play golf affordably. That is because the County’s self-absorbed and self-invested leaders have abandoned the whole reason for a County golf program, which is to serve the County’s residents residents, and instead have gone off track completely in their single-minded effort to deliver opportunities to profit to an out-of-state management company, favored contractors, architects, and eventually catering companies and non-golf employees, many of whom can be counted upon to share last names with the Freeholders. All this while fewer and fewer County residents, and many fewer of the County’s senior citizens, find it possible to play on the golf facilities that they paid for in their taxes and greens fees for generations. WHOSE GOLF COURSES ARE THEY ANYWAY?


  20. Posted by G. Albritton on August 14, 2012 at 5:53 am

    The referenced article so completely confirms a comment from April 2 last year that I thought I might repost it here:

    “Sad to hear on the video that a Union County resident like Mr. Buettner has given up playing on his county’s golf courses since Oak Ridge Golf Course was closed and destroyed. But who can blame him?

    Many Union County seniors also regrettably gave up playing at the same time the young Mr. Buettner did. Oak Ridge was flatter, shorter and more hospitable to older players, and to the County’s youngest players too. But the Freeholders, and the County Manager who instantly ordered the bulldozers in to plow up Oak Ridge’s greens and sand traps after the March 2009 vote to close the course, couldn’t have cared less about the real interests of the golfers in the county, and especially those of the senior players. They never sought their opinions or input before rushing to kill the golf course to make the site suitable for MusicFest 2009, which was clearly the plan all along.

    (Has anyone ever figured out how much the lower fees charged to senior golfers impacted the overall revenues generated at Oak Ridge, which course the senior players clearly favored? How much of that golf course’s net loss in 2008, which was the false reason given by the Freeholders for condemning the course, was actually attributable to the substantial discounts given to seniors? Was this never calculated or even considered by the Freeholders before they acted?)

    Funny how less than a year before all of this, the April 10, 2008 Board meeting minutes report that, in response to a question about County’s golf program, then Freeholder Chairman Estrada stated that “our task is not to make money but to provide services for residents at a reasonable effective cost.” Somehow during the last three years this policy got turned around completely, and is still headed fast in the wrong direction.

    The County golf program has now become ALL about making money, and NOT about serving residents. Which residents asked for a ten million plus dollar clubhouse for Galloping Hill – and is that a “reasonable effective cost”? How do you provide such services to residents, particularly senior citizens, when you willfully destroy overnight venerable golf course improvements worth many millions of dollars based upon the assertion that the admittedly mismanaged course had lost a small fraction of that value in one year, and during a recession? Don’t you first try to manage it properly before tearing it up?

    The new Union County golf rate structure for 2011 likewise clearly confirms that the Union County golf program is no longer run for the benefit of County residents like Mr. Buettner. The fees voted in by Freeholders in February virtually eliminated any recognition of whether a golfer is a Union County resident/taxpayer or not. So out-of-county golfers make out like bandits under the Freeholders’ new rate scheme. After a one-time payment of only $15 more than the 2010 rate for their 2011 Union County golf ID cards, non-residents are paying at least 34% LESS in fees in 2011 for each golf round than they paid to play in 2010, while residents pay $2.00 MORE per round than in 2010.

    These greatly reduced fees for non-residents are no doubt causing an even greater influx of out-of-county players this year, further crowding out County residents from the two surviving and already overcrowded Union County golf courses. As of now Union County homeowners no longer benefit from any advantage or preference over competing non-resident County card holders in obtaining tee time reservations or in greens fees rates, despite the tremendously heavy and growing burden in taxes each of them pays annually to Union County. Whose golf courses are they anyway?

    And if this new fee structure is such a good system, that will draw many more out-of-county golfers to the courses and make more money for Union County, why the hell wasn’t it tried out at Oak Ridge Golf Course BEFORE it was closed and immediately destroyed for supposedly losing money?

    It is apparent that KemperSports, the management company brought on to run the courses in mid 2009, must have played a leading role in setting up this ‘resident-blind” fee system in order to maximize their income, but at the likely cost of many more County residents being forced off their own county courses. We should all remember that KemperSports’ ill-advised contract with the County has a term of 5 years, expiring in or about June 2014 when they should get booted and sent packing back to Illinois.”


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